News & Politics

Eric Adams accused of 1993 sexual assault

The mayor denied knowing his accuser, who filed the lawsuit under the Adult Survivors Act on Nov. 22.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams attends a press conference at City Hall on Nov. 14, 2023.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams attends a press conference at City Hall on Nov. 14, 2023. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Eric Adams was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in 1993, according to a summons in a civil lawsuit filed under the Adult Survivors Act.

The summons, first reported by The Messenger, was filed on Nov. 22. “Plaintiff was sexually assaulted by Defendant Eric Adams in New York, New York in 1993 while they both worked for the City of New York,” the summons states. The summons describes the nature of the allegation as including “sexual assault, battery and employment discrimination based on the plaintiff’s gender and sex, retaliation, hostile work environment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

In addition to Adams, who worked for the New York City Police Department at the time, the lawsuit also names the transit bureau of the NYPD, the Guardian Association of the NYPD and three other unnamed entities as defendants.

The plaintiff filing the legal claim against Adams is seeking at least $5 million in damages. An attorney for the plaintiff did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Adams denied the allegation. “I want to respond to this lawsuit that was just brought to my attention. It absolutely did not happen,” the mayor told reporters on Nov. 23. “I don’t recall ever meeting this person, and I would never harm anyone in that magnitude. It did not happen.”

“That is not who I am, and that is not who I have ever been in my professional life. It’s just something that never took place,” he added.

The allegation comes roughly a month after a book by Melissa DeRosa, former top aide to ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, implied that state Attorney General Letitia James may have known about issues that Adams has had with women. According to the book, James said that the then-Brooklyn borough president had “baggage of the female kind.” A spokesperson for James did not immediately return a request for comment.

The allegation also comes as Adams is facing cascading crises – most notably, a federal criminal inquiry that includes probing whether his 2021 campaign conspired with members of the Turkish government and received illegal campaign donations from Turkish citizens. Adams has not been accused of wrongdoing. The mayor has set up a legal defense fund to help cover legal expenses related to the inquiry.

The Adult Survivors Act opened a one-year look-back window allowing people to sue alleged perpetrators of sexual assault regardless of when the assault occurred. It allows people to seek civil damages, but not criminal charges. The window began last year and closed on Nov. 23. Last week, state Sen. Kevin Parker was accused under the Adult Survivors Act of raping a woman in 2004, an allegation that he has denied.

On Nov. 28, nearly a week after the summons was filed, City Hall Chief Counsel Lisa Zornberg said that neither Adams nor City Hall had been served with the summons, and a full complaint with details of the allegation had still yet to be filed.

Zornberg also referenced the fact that there was a book written by someone with the same name of the accuser, offering pro se legal advice. “All we have is a bare, undetailed summons filed by a person who, according to public records and in her own words, is so litigious that she’s written a book on how to file lawsuits, telling people to follow her lead because, quote, you just may win,” Zornberg said. “We know very little, we know that much from Google. But context matters.”

Zornberg said the city’s Law Department expects to defend the suit if and when the city and mayor are served – a possibility that raised some eyebrows when Adams first mentioned it on Nov. 24.

Adult Survivors Act Summons... by City & State New York